Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


I'll Think Of Something

Honig Vineyards, Rutherford, California, USA

June 9, 2009



"Then he waited, marshaling his thoughts and brooding over his still untested powers. For though he was master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next.
But he would think of something."
  ... Arthur C Clarke describing Star-Child, in the closing words of the grand finale of "2001: A Space Odyssey"
This essay, I'll Think Of Something, is the companion piece to The Grand Canyon Is In The Fridge.

I am indebted to Laurel Scheaf who inspired this conversation.




Transformation is the bedrock  on which to stand before life has any chance of being lived as a creation. Without transformation, arguably it's simply not possible  to live life as a creation. Without transformation, arguably all you'll ever do is fix things, change things, alleviate  things, protect against  things ... in other words, learn to become a smart rat  and ensure the essentials for survival  are in place. But come up with anything truly new?  Create something outside  of a well respected smart rat's repertoire of survival strategies? Not likely.

It's pernicious. Oftentimes what looks like creativity isn't creativity at all. It's survival but it doesn't look like survival. It looks like creativity but it's not creativity. You may "create"  a piece of jewelry. You may "create"  a piece of music. You may even "create"  a new idea, a new conversation. It may look  like, it may feel  like, it may seem like creativity. But if the context  in which you create, for  which you create is survival, then it's really not creativity - it's simply survival disguised  as creativity.

With transformation comes a new awareness: that survival is already assured. It's been turning out this way for millennia. It'll continue turning out this way for millennia more - which brings the realization if you choose it the way it is, it'll all turn out because it's already all turned out. This, when the full implication sinks in, is enormously  freeing.
Werner Erhard famously says "Things are the way they are, and they aren't the way they aren't.". Just as famously, classic vintage Erhard  is misunderstood to be a philosophy, a belief, a trite bon mot, or even a balm to bring on tolerance and acceptance. It's not. In fact, as any  of the above, it's worthless. As any of the above, it's meaningless drivel which, when misapplied, is used to justify apathy  ("If things are the way they are, and they aren't the way they aren't, then why bother?") .

Yet as an experience, "things are the way they are, and they aren't the way they aren't" is simply what's so. Don't analyze it. Just look. As an experience, "things are the way they are, and they aren't the way they aren't" is true. Anything else as an observation of what's out there  just adds inauthenticity. It could be said the critical mass of experience which kindled the first occurrence of transformation on our planet came about through allowing things to be the way they are and the way they aren't. This essentially Zen way of looking allows what's there to show up. And in the wake of things being the way they are and not being the way they aren't, what has the space  to show up - arguably authentically for the first time - is who you really are.

Gee, I hope you get this! When all the fixing, changing, alleviating, protecting against, and surviving are set aside, when things are allowed to be the way they are and the way they aren't, what shows up ie what has a chance of showing up for the first time ever is who you really are  - not like an analysis, not like a strategy, not even like a philosophy or a belief, and certainly not like a recipe for success, but like an experience.

It's tempting to add "like an observation"  to "like an experience" when describing who you really are. But the trouble with "like an observation"  when describing who you really are is there's distance between the observer and the observed  which, in the case of who you really are, doesn't work. Observing  who you really are doesn't work as well as experiencing  who you really are, nor as well as simply being  who you really are.

So: where then does creativity not like disguised survival  show up? It's already all turned out. Things are the way they are and they aren't the way they aren't. Being who you really are is assured. Coming from that, all there is to do is create. Coming from that, any act is an act of creation. Coming from that, it's impossible for any act not  to be an act of creation. Coming from that, it's impossible to do anything but  create.

At any moment, I may not have a plan for what I'm going to create, speak, or do next. Looking ahead to the rest of my life, I may not be aware now of what I'm going to create, speak, or do ever again. Even though I don't need to, even though it's OK not to, even though it's OK the way it is, I'll think of something.



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